a pretty picture of the spiritual retreat center in MA, featuring a big sign to the entrance of their campus reading “Kripalu”, has been on my dream board for going on 2 years now. ever since Joseph & i went on a retreat to Omega Institute in NY a while back, i’ve wanted to go on another one. but somehow we never got around to it. maybe because we subconsciously thought, why go on one spiritual retreat, when we could go on TWO fun getaways with beautiful accommodations, for the same price?? haha
but my soul had been starting to feel really brittle, so i knew i needed this, i knew i needed to make a conscious effort to get myself there one way or another. i knew the time and investment were worth it. so i made a determination to go, in my heart, no matter what. joseph was right on board with me. and of course right after we made that decision, we got our tax return, which would cover a lot of it, so i felt it was a sure sign! and of course i should have known this, as i have a quote taped up by my desk by Sark saying, “go to where you want to be, and the resources will follow”
another reason i was drawn to going, was not only would this be a spiritual retreat, but a musical one. i found that Snatam Kaur, would be leading one of the retreats, so i specifically chose to go to hers. if you don’t know who Snatam is, her music is played in many yoga classes all over. she’s also almost always a featured performer for yoga festivals all over. i once was yoga-ing away during a class, and heard a beautiful voice singing a beautiful melody, and found later it was Snatam’s music. and since then, we have collected and enjoyed a few of her albums. spirituality, combined with MUSIC, why of COURSE i would have to go to this!! and to be in the same room as the source of this beautiful music, for several days? of course! my heart was drawn and there was no way back, as part of me feeling brittle is always because of a lack of music in my world.
and what a beautiful, transcending experience it was. Kripalu is a beautiful retreat space. full of such high, light, beautiful energy throughout the property. i’m usually very sensitive to energies wherever i go, especially if i am to sleep somewhere new. i didn’t get one bad vibe here at all, it just felt so peaceful and clear. and wonderful, nutritious food the whole time, too, which always helps your overall wellbeing.
we got there, and i was walking into the main room where the workshop would take place. i turned my head to the right, and there she was she gave me the warmest smile, where i could almost physically feel it. it was almost startling, her energy was just so light and bright and full of love. she’s just one of those people that can change your insides just by being in their presence, i think she may be a human angel. and i realize i want to embody that kind of energy. i want my music to bring light to people’s souls. and to make music like that, i need to keep going in that direction myself.
we did a whole lot a meditative chanting, and by the 2nd day, i was spiritually and physically worn out. and during a chant, with the beautiful live music being played, i found myself getting really emotional. first with so much anger, over something minor (which is usually masking something major!). i was so angry and couldn’t control my eyes tearing up over it. i had to get up and leave the room. and when i came back, of course i continued to cry. and this time it ended up being because i felt so lost. i kept asking whoever or whatever is out there, ‘what am i supposed to do in this world? what is my purpose and howw do i do it?? help me find my music. help me find my music.’ all of my confusion and struggles of searching just came tumbling out. and of course the music is what made me cry the most. the beauty of it, and my heart wanting to do it so much and loving it so much. and i felt so worn out by the end of the day. i even thought i wouldn’t mind going home already.
Snatam was having a concert that evening, though. i was worn out, but walked over to the hall with Joseph anyway. we ended up being able to sit in the very front, right in front of the musicians. and… it was just so beautiful. beautiful voices, strings, tabla. i found myself singing along, even if i didn’t know some of the songs, i just started singing harmonies to go along with the music, and it was magical. you know when you’re listening to live music and it just takes you to another plane? i was on another plane, the whole room was. the power of music. we were all lifted to a higher level. and it rejuvenated me. filled me up. and confirmed that music has such a high power. and i was given the gift of music. so i need to be using it somehow. even if it’s hard. even if i feel lost and helpless and don’t know HOW.
and the next morning, i made it to the 4:30am yoga & meditation. (yes, i said 4:30am! i’ll try anything once) and during the savasana (lying down meditation), i saw bright lights, and colors, on another plane, like i was on during the concert. i started crying again. it was a beautiful day. Snatam had a cd signing, so i was able to talk to her and she said she’s been watching the two of us and was happy to see us grow so much i told her i was a musician as well and we talked about the songwriting process a bit. i also gave her and her band copies of my album as a gift.
joseph bought us some beautiful malas there, his purple amethyst, and mine, pink rose quartz. we put them on the rest our time there. to infuse them with the energies of Kripalu so we could take them home with us. we wore them while we walked their beautiful labryinth, and put them on the Angel and Buddha statue that was at the center of it. i whispered my dreams and released them to the world.
we met in group discussions with the same group throughout. and made wonderful friends with like minded souls. we were to draw pictures of our states of being. mine is below. i drew me on a boat, flower in my hair, following the sun around the world, leaving behind music, beauty, and love wherever i go. and we still keep in contact with the great people we met. (so glad to have met you Laurie, John, Sara, Tom!)
yes, it was a Kundalini retreat. and there was a Buddha statue at the center of the labyrinth. but i always think of a quote i read somewhere, that when dealing with reading books, or spirituality in general, “be a sieve, not a sponge”. and i stand by that, and have for a while. i always takes what works for me and leave what doesn’t. and what i leave may work better for someone else. after all, who knows what's best for you the most? you, of course.
we went to the cafeteria for our final meal, and chose a table next to a wall. and while we were sitting there, Snatam’s husband, little girl, and band members were looking for somewhere to sit. they chose a nearby table. but her little girl shook her head and pointed right at our table and said she wanted to sit there. i love kids so we had our last meal with Snatam’s band and family, and it was so nice to connect and talk to them about everything. they even said they had listened to my cd and i have beautiful voice!! we were blessed and this retreat was just what i needed.
i still don’t know for sure, where i’m going. but i do know i’m on the right path
hello everyone! it’s kiyomi, and i just wanted to offer you all my album for free, if you don’t have it already
i don’t know if you know, but i’ve stepped away from the music for a bit. to be honest, i’ve been totally burned out. and for those of you who are not independent musicians, this is a very short explanation of what we go through…
it’s a life of instability, where work and money are not consistent. it can be anxiety inducing, but also extremely exhilarating to be doing exactly what you want to do! and we are obviously not in it for anything but our love of music. for some of us, it’s a need and there is no other path.
so i created my album “child in me”, which was released in 2011. i’d literally been working on it since probably 2003. it’s literally a part of me, and the story of my life. it costed thousands to make. i would love to create another album, i would LOVE to! but obviously i have to be realistic and know i can’t keep coughing up thousands of dollars every time i want to record one! so hence, my burnout…
so, why this blog, other than the free download? well, i sang yesterday at my friend’s gig, and i thought, WHY am i not doing what i was born to do?? my soul has been shriveling! and my biggest goal in music is to make it, and try to give it to as many people as i can! share it with the world.
so, i decided i wanted to give away my album to you all, if you don’t have it already. and hopefully, share it if you can, and want to! it’s hard to get it out there just little me trying, so i thought i’d ask for your help!
and i also hoped i could ask a little favor. when you put so much love and energy into something, it can feel really draining to not receive some sort of energy back. i realize the music biz isn’t what it used to be, and music doesn’t see as well as it used to. and i realize that if you have an album, it’s more like a very pricey business card, really, which i’m totally fine with!
but anyway, back to the energies. nothing really gets a second glance without reviews. so i was wondering if after you’ve downloaded my album, you could leave me one on either iTunes or Amazon. it would help me wonders. and maybe, just maybe, i’ll be able to make that 2nd album one day soon
there was a time i didn’t know if my burnout would ever fade, but it did. music makes me happy, so i always have to come back to it. and hopefully i can give you something through it.
i hope to hear from you soon, and all the links are below.
love & music always,
free album download -
Amazon review (no purchase necessary, scroll to bottom to review button) -
iTunes review (no purchase necessary) -
ps - i’m on Instagram now, so follow, if you please
So something magical seems to happen when i write my goals down and hope for them, and consciously strive for them, but important, NOT BE DESPERATE ABOUT THEM. The same with my dreams, which are different in that they are not just things i can check off of my to do list, but more things i want for my life that may take a bit more time, and maybe some divine assistance, preparation, as well as the right timing.
it seems kinda like a contradiction to really want something so deeply and passionately, yet not be desperate about it. this is something i’ve learned how to do recently, and am still learning how to do. it’s kind of like just trusting and KNOWING. and then just living life and enjoying it!!
yes, goal writing can be useless if done the wrong way, say, in a desperate manner. like you’re gonna FREAK if everything is not checked off by this date and done in this way. and then you just give up because WHY go on, you FAILED anyway! but i’ve learned to just write what i want to hopefully accomplish and if i don’t, then what the hell, i’ll try again next year! and i’m also more honestly aware if something that i’ve wanted to do no longer speaks to me anymore. i’ll just cross it off and get on! and i won’t punish myself for it! REVELATION! ;D
anyway, i’ve had on my list for 2 or maybe 3 years now, to go on a 10 mile hike. i’ve always been drawn to making a goal of some sort, so that i can strive for something. like running the marathon! except that i don’t really run... (and truthfully, it’s for vain reasons, heh heh, but hey i’m being honest! i heard it causes wrinkles, and i feel like they’ll make my boobs sag, haha!! ..shhhh i didn’t just write that)
well, my goal for a 10 mile hike all started out with an 8 mile hike joseph and i went on…which was NOT pretty! ok, the HIKE was pretty and everything i’d hoped it would be. we were in the beautiful catskills, at a wonderful B&B with a claw footed tub! and we had a plan! we would hike 8 miles from the B&B to one of my favorite funkadelic restaurants, The Eggs Nest, and then hike back! coolio!! it would be pretty and perfect!! but…no. it ended up not being so pretty, when we got tired and absolutely FAMISHED!!! like desperately so. before we reached The Egg’s Nest! yes, we’d not even thought to pack water or snacks or anything, really! (something we’ve NEVER forgotten again)
about 7 or so miles into the hike, i started feeling light headed and flushed, and i had to sit down. then hunger hit me like crazy. and i couldn’t get up. luckily there was a bench, and i fell onto it. which was not very convenient cuz we were stuck in the middle of the woods, with nobody to help us get anywhere, and no food!! i was freaking out, like seriously. and poor joseph (who i’m sure was just as tired and famished), was probably freaking out cuz i was freaking out!! i was lying down on the bench with my arms dramatically draped over my face saying “i cannnnnn’t go on anymorrrrrrree, i’m gonna diiiiiiiieeeeee!!!!” “are there any apple trees, we NEEEEEED to find an apple treeeeeee!!!!” “or what about acorns, we need to find an acornnnnnn!!!” “aaaahhhh!!!” but really, i thought we would get stuck there, and it would get dark and then we’d really be screwed. which we look back on now and think it slightly funny... or maybe i’m the only one of the two of us that thinks so… (nose wrinkle)
anyway, joseph did somehow manage to find an acorn, a half rotten one with a hole in it!! i was kind of kidding about that, but it was kind of him to find one for me, wasn’t it? and honestly, we weren’t really gonna eat an acorn even if he’d found a nice one, haha! it just felt comforting to me then and there, that they were around if we really were on the verge of starvation, i mean, squirrels eat them, right!!
well, i passed out for a little bit, then got up and we started walking again, i mean, what else were we to do? so we trudged along for another mile and finally reached The Eggs Nest. then had to call the innkeeper who so kindly drove to us and picked us up, and couldn’t help chuckling at our (ridiculous) grand master hiking plan. and yes, there is a picture that joseph took of me, while i was passed out on the bench, which i will not post here, since it's embarrassing!
but hey, we went on an 8 mile hike. With no food or water. or a flashlight, either. so there. annnd we learned never to set out on a long hike, unprepared!
we’ve been on a ton of hikes since then but this month we set out on my big goal, a 10 mile hike. no pressure or anything - if we didn’t make it, we would try again next time. and because of our past experience and what we’d learned, we were able to enjoy the hike peacefully, with no drama and the strange-in-a-good-way thing is, i felt we were being helped along the way, evident through little coincidences.
so the goal this time was to hike 5 miles, then turn around, and 5 miles back and voila! 10 miles. so we set off on a trail, which a couple of miles into it, ended. so we hiked back the trail, and started on another. so our plan was already off, but whatevs! we sat down on a log and ate apples (notttt from an apple tree, but ones we’d BROUGHT along with us, heh heh, we’ve learned!), and started on another trail, called the orange trail. i started to get nervous about how far we should go, cuz the detour made it hard to know how far we’d actually gone from the starting point. but we kept going, and then the orange trail ended. and literally at that point, my pedometer read 5 miles, exactly. i thought that was an interesting coincidence, and knew it was our sign to turn around and hike back! (i love when i don’t have to make decisions! )
anyway, the hike back ended up being shorter cuz of the detour, but there was a lake we could walk around a few times, to lengthen the hike. of course, at 7 miles, i got really tired, that seems to be my breaking point! and i wanted to stop and try for 10 another time. but joseph seemed really adamant about doing 10 miles, so encouraged me to keep going. so i put a bandaid on my blister (yes, we packed them!), and we kept going. and when we hit 8.3, the longest we’ve ever done, joseph gave me a high five (he really wanted us to do a happy dance but SERIOUSLY, I was like, what? I was too tired and needed to save my energy!!)
towards the end, we had the option of going around the lake a longer vs shorter way. i was so tired at this point, i just said, “shorter way, no ifs ands or buts!!” so that’s the way we went, and then walked back to my car. and RIGHT when we got to my car, my pedometer read 10 miles, EXACTLY, which i thought was another cool co-inky-dink!! and we were EXHILARATED!! it is the best feeling in the world, when you end a hike, but more so when you’ve reached a goal!! yessss!!! 10 mile hike!! and it was a REAL hike, too, with uphill and downhill, and rocks, streams, and unpaved paths!! i wanted to take a picture here, to document, so walked to a nearby rock to do so, and darn, the pedometer now read 10.01, and that’s the pic i got. but whatevs, 10 mile hike!! we did it!
and now I think we'll try for another goal hike, I'm thinking 12 miles…